Skip to comments.Shocking Inside DC Scandal Rumor: A Media Ethics Dilemma
Posted on 10/30/2007 6:09:13 PM PDT by jimboster
So I was down in DC this past weekend and happened to run into a well-connected media person, who told me flatly, unequivocally that everyone knows The LA Times was sitting on a story, all wrapped up and ready to go about what is a potentially devastating sexual scandal involving a leading Presidential candidate. Everyone knows meaning everyone in the DC mainstream media political reporting world. Sitting on it because the paper couldnt decide the complex ethics of whether and when to run it. The way I heard it theyd had it for a while but dont know what to do. The person who told me )not an LAT person) knows I write and didnt say dont write about this.
If its true, I dont envy the LAT. I respect their hesitation, their dilemma, deciding to run or not to run it raises a lot of difficult journalism ethics questions and theyre likely to be attacked, when it comes outthe story or their suppression of the storywhatever they do.
Ive been sensing hints that somethings going on, somethings going unspoken in certain insider coverage of the campaign (and by the way this rumor the LA Times is supposedly sitting on is one I never heard in this specific form before. By the way, ts not the Edwards rumor, its something else.
And when my source said everyone in Washington, knows about it he means everyone in the elite Mainstream media, not just the LA Times, but everyone regularly writing about the Presdidential campaign knows about it and doesnt know what to do with it. And I must admit it really is was juicy if true. But I dont know if its true and I cant decide if I think its relevant. But the fact that everyone in the elite media knew about it and was keeping silent about it, is, itself, news. But you cant report the news without reporting the thing itself. Troubling!
It raises all sorts of ethical questions. What about private sexual behavior is relevant? What about a marriage belongs in the coverage of a presidential campaign? Does it go to the judgment of the candidate in question? Didnt we all have a national nervous breakdown over these questions nearly a decade ago?
Now, as I say its a rumor; I havent seen the supporting evidence. But the person who told me said it offhandedly as if everyone in his world knew about it. And if you look close enough you can find hints of something impending, something potentially derailing to this candidate in the reporting of the campaign. Which could mean that something unspoken, unwritten about is influencing what is written, what we read.
Why are well wired media elite keeping silent about it? Because they think we cant handle the truth? Because they think its substantively irrelevant? What standards of judgment are they using? Are they afraid that to print it will bring on opprobrium. Are they afraid not printing it will bring on opprobrium? Or both?
But alas if it leaks out from less responsible sources. then all their contextual protectiveness of us will have been wasted.
And what about timing? They, meaning the DC elite media, must know if it comes out before the parties select their primary winners and eventual nominees, voters would have the ability to decide how important they felt it to the narrative of the candidate in question. Arent they, in delaying and not letting the pieces fall where they potentially may, not refusing to act but acting in a different waytaking it upon themselves to decide the Presidential election by their silence?
If they waited until the nominees were chosen wouldnt that be unfair because, arguably, it could sink the candidacy of one of the potential nominees after the nomination was finalized? And doesnt the fact that they all know somethings there but cant say affect their campaign coverage in a subterranean, subconscious way that their readers are excluded from?
I just dont know the answer. Im glad in a situation like this, if there is in fact truth to it, that I wouldnt have to be the decider. I wouldnt want to be in a position of having to make that choice. But its a choice that may well decide a crucial turning point in history. Or maybe not: Maybe voters will decide they dont think its important, however juicy. But should it be their choice or the choice of the media elites? It illustrates the fact that there are still two cultures at war within our political culture, insiders and outsiders. As a relative outsider I have to admit I was shocked not just by this but by several other things everyone down there knows.
There seem to be two conflicting imperatives here. The new media, Web 2.0 anti-elitist preference for transparency and immediacy and the traditional elitist preference for reflection, judgment and standardstheir reflection, their small-group judgment and standards. Their civic duty to protect us from knowing too much.
I feel a little uneasy reporting this. No matter how well nailed they think they have it, it may turn out to be untrue. What Im really reporting on is the unreported persistence of a schism between the DC media elites and their inside knowlede and the public that is kept in the dark. For their own good? Maybe theyd dismiss it as irrelevant, but shouldnt they know?
I dont know.
Hillary is a lesbian? No, that's not shocking. You're right, It has to be Obama.
Pictures of Ron Paul and Catherine Zeta-Jones? Shocking! If only I (or Maureen Dowd) could recall what she looks like.
Could be rugmuncher Hildebeeste.
Obviously fiction. Journalists don’t encounter ethical or moral dilemmas.
That’s what I was thinking ... clintoninc.
It’s Edwards, verifiably.
Google around. Late September the Enquirer picked it up.
“The reflection, judgment, and standards” of the MSM begin, stay, and end at WHATEVER will benefit the liberal/democrat/socialist/communist/internationalist (but I repeat myself) candidate.....
My first thought, if they’re keeping it quiet it must be a dem, but on second thought, it could be a pubbie and they are just waiting to see if he wins the primary before they release it which would help the dem candidate.
We don’t even need to ask if it’s a Dem or a Pubbie.
The answer to that is obvious enough.
So Rudy's actually gay, or Hillary's actually straight.
Q: Where have we heard this before? (Hint: Andrea Mitchell)
A: That "everyone knows" Valerie Plame has a desk job at the CIA.
Lame Plame Main Stream Media
Or they could be waiting to derail a Republican of choice should he build momentum just as the nomination process gets underway...
“Her name not to be spoken” and Janet Reno?
Must be a democrat. They’d wait about five seconds if it was a Republican.
No, they specifically say it’s not the Edwards’ adultery scandal
The system is breaking down in front of our eyes.
Bad moon rising, IMO.
“Or Chelsea’s real last name is Hubble”
Everyone knows about that, it’s too obvious to remark on.
Its the Obama grenade....if and when he starts to tear into the Hildebeests destiny...some poor private will be told to pull the pin and toss....